Jason Kottke pointed to an old article from Vogue food critic and frequent Iron Chef America judge Jeffrey Steingarten on learning to eat everything. I don’t eat everything (to my continued shame), but I eat many many different things. Until I was 25 or so, I was a very picky eater. I constantly lived in fear of going to decent restaurants, because I often found myself in a situation where there was literally nothing on the menu that I felt comfortable ordering. The idea of any food with sauce was intensely traumatic.
As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in a small town, and when I went to college, I had never eaten Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Italian (aside from spaghetti or pasta), or plenty of other varieties of food. I expanded my horizons a bit in college (incorporating some Chinese and Vietnamese food), but I was still awfully picky. Then, after I’d moved away for my first real job, I started hanging out with a girl who I really wanted to date. One thing I knew about her is that she was definitely not a picky eater. She ate at all the restaurants in town with no fear at all. And I knew that she would not respect me if I went to a restaurant that she loved and found nothing I was willing to eat on the menu.
It was at that point that I decided that I was no longer a picky eater. I’d eat whatever was put in front of me with a smile. I told myself a lie, that if other people eat something, it can’t be that different from what I already eat. It paid off. Not only do I enjoy all sorts of food today that I couldn’t even imagine eating back then, but I my strategy worked. She wound up marrying me. And to this day she tells people that she can’t believe that I was ever a picky eater.